netTerrain Complaint of the Week: ITK Features

Welcome back to the next installment of our weekly update in which we do something a bit odd for a vendor: expose holes in our product! Let’s be honest: nothing is perfect — and by discussing problems netTerrain users have encountered, we want to foster a collaborative environment, share some workarounds around common issues and — why not, poke a little fun at ourselves.


“…ITK features?”

For this week, I will touch upon netTerrain’s Integration Toolkit (ITK). We have been getting some requests and questions around it and in general our response has been tame. There is a specific reason for this, and you may have already seen it in previous blogs: we are scraping the ITK for the interim.

Here’s an example of a customer question: last week we had a customer wondering if certain auto-layout functions could be expanded in the ITK, and we said no. The reason for this is that development of the ITK is frozen now and all efforts are now being directed towards the vastly improved Collector (as you may know, we are constantly improving netTerrain as our goal is nothing less than putting out the best DCIM, OSP, and Network Mapping solutions on the market today.

Why vastly improved?

Well, citing a previous blog, allow me to regurgitate some of the reasons we believe the Collector is the way to go:

  • Easier deployment: it doesn’t need to be directly connected to the database.
  • Cloud-enabled: you can deploy the Collector anywhere.
  • Asynchronous and off-line: run a discovery and send the data back to netTerrain anytime.
  • Multi-tenant: the Collector works across multiple and unaffiliated networks.
  • More protocols, better SNMPv3 support: with full SNMP support, the Collector brings you a better picture of the comprehensive layer-2, layer-3 and logical views in your IT landscape.
  • Better l2 discovery: a smart way to produce a more comprehensive layer-2 topology of your LAN and WAN network.
  • Revamped connectors to other leading systems: the Collector includes many predefined API-based connectors to leading systems such as: Solarwinds, Service Now, CA Spectrum, VCenter, AWS and more.

As you can see from the list above, these are some massive improvements over the architecture of the ITK and come with a much better set of discovery capabilities.

Having said that, there is one big piece still missing (which is what will eat up the bulk of the migration efforts in the next 12 months): the ability to create custom connectors to any data source. What can you do?

Well, for starters the ITK isn’t dead. You can still use it for automatically generating IT and network mapping diagrams. And, until you can fully replace it with the Collector we still provide full support for it.

What about new features? As I mentioned, we are not developing it anymore, however specific features that are more discovery-related can be accelerated in the Collector (which encourages you to migrate).

Finally, there is the lovely API! It is a powerful tool that can supply features such as the question this customer had. Using the SOAP or REST API you can take any data already in netTerrain and supply your own positioning algorithms.

In sum: the ITK isn’t gone — it’s just frozen for development since a much better Collector is replacing it in the next 12 months or so. In the intervening months, however, we will continue to provide full support for tickets and issues and we can help you navigate the API to supply any specific features for connector-related tasks that need more immediate attention!

Stay tuned for our next installment in this ongoing series — and, in the meantime, if you need support: give us a shout.

Jan Durnhofer
Jan Durnhofer
As CEO / Product and Engineering Manager, Jan joined Graphical Networks with the purpose of creating the most advanced DCIM and IT visualization company in the market.

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